Soham driver helps his team to the top of the podium in GT Championship

Race 1 GT3 Podium (l-r) Pasin Lathouras / Richard Lyons AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, Ahmad Al Harthy

Race 1 GT3 Podium (l-r) Pasin Lathouras / Richard Lyons AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, Ahmad Al Harthy / Michael Caine Oman Racing Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 , Andrew Howard / Jonny Adam Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 - Credit: Archant

Soham-based racing driver, Michael Caine, took the spoils in the season opener of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Oulton Park over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Michael and team-mate Ahmad Al Harthy prevailed in a dramatic 60-minute race.

Al Harthy qualified the team’s Aston Martin Vantage on pole position, more than half-a-second clear of nearest rivals, Beechdean AMR at the hands of reigning champion Andrew Howard.

Al Harthy begun the race for the team and made an excellent start, building up a lead of two seconds with just six laps completed and increasing the gap to nearly nine seconds by the end of his stint.

Al Harthy crossed the finish line just a handful of seconds before the pitstop window opened and handed over to Caine.

Once behind the wheel, Caine held on to the lead on the timesheets and eventually pulled away from the BMW of Luke Hines to build a cushion out in front as he began to settle in to his stint.

Hines wouldn’t let Caine have it all his own way, though, and by lap 23 the gap between the lead pair was just a second, falling to six tenths of a second on lap 24.

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As the duo traded hot laps, the gap increased and decreased as a true fight for the lead looked set to unfold.

The hotly anticipated battle was not to be, however; Hines was forced to pit to take a stop-go penalty – dashing his podium hopes, but offering Caine some breathing space out in front.

Hines’ penalty promoted the Ferrari of Richard Lyons to second, while Beechdean AMR’s Jonny Adam moved up into a podium position in third.

Lyons kept Caine honest in the closing laps of the 60-minute race, but the Soham man and 2012 British GT Champion looked comfortable out in front, eventually crossing the line three-and-a-half seconds clear of Lyons and a further four seconds ahead of Jonny Adam, who held on for third place.

The next round of the championship will be held at Rockingham, in Corby, over the weekend of May 4-5.